My job allows me to connect with younger people. And it’s incredible. Things that I don’t give much thought to, profoundly hits them. It’s retail so we’ve been playing holiday music for a while now. I typically tune it out, honestly. One night though, Rudolph came on… “You know Dasher and Dancer and…”. I sigh inwardly and keep on keeping on. I overhear one the kids though start this tirade about how fucking awful the song is. Yeah, Rudolph was bullied, everyone recognizes that. But my co-worker really felt that, deeply. He went on about how people only liked Rudolph once he was useful to them and how awful that is, and how Rudolph should have been valued prior to “one foggy Christmas Eve”. There is legit anger as the kid talked about it. So, I’ve been noodling “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” (I love how dirty that sounds lol) for a bit, piecing together some thoughts on it.
Bullying is wrong. We all (hopefully) get that, at this point in time. Discriminating against people… reindeer… due to their physical appearance is a dick move, and we should be more evolved by now. I’m not a doctor, I’m not sure of any condition that gives people shiny red-noses but there are things like acne, there are people with braces, birthmarks, people in wheelchairs, whatever it is, whatever people see about you, before they see you. Now… Rudolph, the story ain’t real fleshed out in the song but.. my thought here is, he has this nose, right? and like.. the schoolyard bully, who probably feels bloody awful about himself, with super low self-esteem, who has some major shit going on at home, lashes out at others as a way to protect himself, started some crap one day. And it snowballed – winter pun not fully intended. It takes one comment, from one person, to completely change another persons experience; good or bad, be aware of this. People have made off-handed comments to me, not even thinking about them, at all, that have left me with scars I am still in the process of letting heal.
So, Rudolph has this run in with the bully. And again, I’m extrapolating here but.. I think it made him shut down. I think it made him feel small and it made him hide. And this, to me, is the real tragedy. If Rudolph has been able to be like… “Oh, y’all don’t want me playing your games? That’s cool, fam, I’m good,” and had like wondered over to an EDM festival, with his glowing nose lighting up to the beat of some Diplo, he would have been wholly accepted and embraced. So, I think there is a bit here about finding your tribe. You’re not for everyone. Everyone is not for you. Show kindness to everyone, but understand you won’t always get it in return. And, if finding your tribe seems impossible, maybe it’s because the other members are waiting for someone to start it. So, if you can’t find your place, create it. “How do you feel about people with red-noses? Good? Awesome! Let’s go eat some tofu. (or whatever)” I think especially if we’ve been bullied or picked on it feels that much harder to reach out, but that is exactly when we need to be doing it the most. The reasons some hate you, or are intimidated by you, or feel uncomfortable around you are going to be the same reasons others love, admire and respect you. You have to find it in you to keep going, keep connecting, keep creating – creating yourself, your crew, your reality. Take the thing about yourself that makes you most uncomfortable and hoist a flag for it, shine your red-nose as bright as the sun, celebrate it and yourself, others will join.
I guess this is my holiday post, since it’s inspired by a Christmas carol so, let’s sum up with.. as we get through the hustle and bustle of whatever winter thing you do, and we all stumble into the new year let’s take lessons from Rudolph. Don’t be a dick. Be careful with your words. Never make yourself small for the comfort of others. Find/create your tribe. Celebrate yourself. You’ll go down in history.